EXCLUSIVE: Amid a flurry of buzz titles heading into Berlin’s European Film Market, this could be one of the most in-demand – I can reveal that Protagonist Pictures will launch sales on Official Competition, a comedy reuniting Spanish stars Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz.
The Spanish-language movie has Argentinian directing duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat at the helm; their credits include the 2016 Venice Competition title The Distinguished Citizen.
Prestige pair Banderas and Cruz are teaming again after appearing together recently in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain And Glory, which was nominated for two Oscars this month including Best Actor for Banderas.
Cruz is a three-time Oscar nominee and a winner in 2009 for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She was also on stage at the latest Academy Awards presenting Bong Joon Ho with his statue for Best International Feature Film.
In Official Competition, Cruz will play renowned filmmaker Lola Cuevas, who is recruited by a billionaire entrepreneur who impulsively decides to create an iconic movie. Banderas will star as Hollywood heartthrob Félix Rivero, and joining them is Argentinian actor Oscar Martínez (The Distinguished Citizen, Wild Tales), who plays radical theater actor Iván Torres.
Official Competition is one of several prestige-looking foreign language pics heading to EFM, alongside Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero and Edward Berger’s German-language adaptation of All Quiet On The Western Front.
Andrés Duprat (The Distinguished Citizen), Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat wrote the screenplay.
Shoot on the project is scheduled to start February 26 in Spain. Protagonist Pictures is handling world rights. CAA Media Finance and Paradigm are representing US rights.
Protagonist Pictures CEO Dave Bishop commented, “Official Competition (Competencia Oficial) is one of the sharpest, most brilliantly observed comedies we have read and we cannot wait to see Mariano and Gaston bring it to life. Superstars Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas reunite alongside the exceptional Oscar Martínez, setting the stage for a truly special cinematic moment. It is a privilege to be working with the incredible team at The Mediapro Studios, further building upon Protagonist’s commitment to partnering with the best filmmaking teams from around the world.”
Javier Mendez, Director of Global Content The Mediapro Studio, added” “Films like Official Competition (Competencia Oficial) with such a brilliant group of directors, casting and storytelling are the kind of independent projects that we develop from The Mediapro Studio to be part of the key players in the independent international film production. Our association with Protagonist Pictures as the film’s sales agent, makes them a strategic partner for our goals.”